Challenges To JCPOA Reactivation Discussed At Moscow Expert Conference

Challenges to JCPOA Reactivation Discussed at Moscow Expert Conference

MOSCOW (UrduPoint News / Sputnik - 05th February, 2021) A conference on the situation surrounding the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) and the possibility of its reactivation was held in Moscow on Friday, with the participation of two experts and one former Russian diplomat analyzing the situation between the US and Iran.


With the Donald Trump administration backing out of the JCPOA and its "Maximum Pressure" campaign failing to yield the desired outcome, Iran's trust in US diplomacy has been undermined. According to Russian Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary to Iran Alexander Maryasov, the two sides are now less willing to compromise.

This lack of compromise can lead the negotiations to grind to a halt as time is running out for both parties in light of the internal political developments under way in both the US and Iran.

"If the Iranian position, especially after the upcoming presidential elections in the country in June of this year, where the conservatives are expected to win, the hard-line wing of the leadership, the situation may become more difficult. We may return to the same situation that existed at the end of last year," Maryasov said.

The matter is further complicated by internal US politics, with the Biden administration potentially facing a lengthy process of congressional approval by a republican-dominated congress in the event of a renegotiation of the deal.

This places the two countries in a situation where the US must negotiate for the reactivation of the existing JCPOA agreement before Iran's upcoming presidential elections on June 18 this year.


Despite showing a lack of diplomatic prowess in reactivating the The Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) during the tenure of the Trump administration, the European Union is likely to play a larger role in reactivating the agreement under the Joe Biden administration.

"Unfortunately, the EU, the EU three regional negotiators of the JCPOA could not demonstrate their capabilities and possibilities and develop them during the Trump administration in order to assist Iran with adhering to the nuclear deal," Adlan Margoev, a middle East expert at the Moscow Institute of International Relations, said.

Margoev highlighted the role played by the lack of a transatlantic link between the EU and US during the tenure of the Trump administration, resulting in the EU's lack of diplomatic efforts to reactivate the JCPOA.

"Today it is naturally easier for the Europeans to portray their constructive role in the negotiations, because in general they have a mutual understanding with the current US administration, and for this reason the Europeans will exercise their diplomatic activity," Margoev added.

While reactivating the JCPOA will not be an easy task, the importance of the agreement for the collective West's ability to negotiate cannot be underestimated; while the Biden administration will most likely be willing to reactivate the existing agreement, the Iranian side's demands to lift the Trump-era sanctions as a prerequisite for the Islamic Republic's return to full compliance under the JCPOA risk pushing for a new agreement.

Additionally, the assassination of Iranian General Qasem Soleimani and nuclear physicist Mohsen Fakhrizadeh last year add a level of complication that would make the drafting of a road map for the reactivation of the JCPOA more difficult.

"This certainly makes any dialogue and the creation of a road map that is crucial for the return to the agreement's effectiveness more difficult ... the American diplomats who will be leading the consultations and negotiating for the reactivation of the JCPOA need to be prepared that the questions of the assassination of general Soleimani will be raised by the Iranian side, and the American side should have the opportunity to respond in a manner that would not compromise any further dialogue," Anton Khlopkov, director of the Center of Energy and Security, said.

The JCPOA could prove to be a major milestone in Western diplomacy as it could undermine the collective West's ability to negotiate; a failure to reactivate the JCPOA with Iran would not only lead Iran to avoid future negotiations, but would also send a message to other countries.

"The current US administration should prove that the USA is capable of abiding by agreements, and in this context if we are discussing the nuclear problematic, it would be important not to forget that another crisis region is the Korean peninsula," Anton Khlopkov added.

The collapse of the JCPOA or any negative or even neutral implications of the agreement for Iran should it be reactivated could lead to a domino effect by which the North Korean leadership would avoid pursuing a similar deal with the US.